Over the weekend, authorities at the Cincinnati Zoo shot 400-pound gorilla, Harambe, dead after a 3-year-old boy fell into his exhibit.

After amateur video of the incident surfaced online, many believe the zoo made the right call while others say the gorilla seemed to be "protecting" the boy as opposed to harming him.

Kim O'Connor filmed the video and described the harrowing scene,

I don't know if the screaming did it or too many people hanging on the edge, if he thought we were coming in, but then he pulled the boy down away further from the big group

A woman can be heard on tape saying "Mommy loves you."


Once all was said and done the 3-year-old spent more than 10 minutes in the enclosure before the gorilla was fatally shot. The boy was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital in serious condition but was released Saturday night and is safe at home.

Many on social media have criticized the parents for allowing the boy to get into the gorilla's habitat in the first place. An online petition has been circulating with signatures requesting that the parents be held responsible and Cincinnati Police say that could very well happen.

Regardless of the backlash they've received for their decision to take down the gorilla, Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard said the Western lowland silverback simply "had to be killed."

The Zoo security team's quick response saved the child's life

Harambe wasn't tranquilized because the time needed for drugs to take effect on an animal the gorilla's size would have put the child's life in too much danger. Maynard said the difficult decision is not one that the zoo is taking well right now as they all grieve the loss of Harambe.

The boy's parents are also sad about the decision that had to be made but are grateful for the quick action taken by the Cincinnati Zoo staff to ensure the safety of their child.

Although this is the first time anyone has ever gained access to the gorilla habitat, the zoo will look into ways to improve when it comes to the safety of visitors and animals. PETA criticized the zoo for not having a second protective barrier and naturally made the argument that animals shouldn't be in zoos to begin with.

The zoo opened on Sunday, but the area where people would normally view gorillas remains closed.

Do you believe the zoo made the right decision? Do you believe the parents should be held responsible for not looking after their child based on the tragic end result?

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